Saturday, August 27, 2011

Running, Running…and More Running

Have you noticed that as time marches on we are always running, often literally. We are rushing to work, to an appointment, answering a page, picking up the kids, making dinner, paying bills, planning vacations, reading CME and just trying to keep our heads above the water. No wonder we are stressed and anxious. Did we just replace our ancestors’ worries of finding food with time consuming errands?

Our lives are so filled with little worries that together they take one big toll on our peace of mind. And then you add economic worries, job loss, news of wars and droughts and is becomes overwhelming! When did life become so busy or was it always like this? When I was a kid we did not have money, computers, vacations or the internet. We had TV but when dad came home he took it over and if you were within hollering distance you became the remote control. Oh, how I hated that. Solution…go to your room and turn on the radio, read or go outside to play with your friends.

So, how did I get from there to here? Here I am in the middle of life and truly believe all the information coming at me has caused me to have issues. I want to participate in many things, travel to foreign lands with my kids, see my children participate in sports and music and excel in school, learn Spanish and the guitar (oh if I could only sing!), train for a marathon, write another book, hike and spend more time taking pictures. Seriously, does anyone else have this problem? Is it a personality disorder yet to be discovered?

I really want to simplify life and slow down to smell the roses but my fear is missing out on an amazing experience. Can you imagine going one week without any TV, radio, internet and cell phone? I know I panic when I realize I can’t find my phone or when the internet is down. How about you? Are you addicted to technology and has it affected you or have you seen it affect your patients?


  1. I feel all the time like I'm running around trying to fit everything in. Even now, when I'm on vacation, I feel compelled to do everything - eat at every restaurant, see every sight possible, sleep in, write stunning blog posts, etc. I have to keep reminding myself to do less and enjoy it more.

  2. "Everything runs right on time, years of practice and design..."

  3. LaughingDoc, *yes*. I often wish that I could slow things down and stop my mind from thinking, thinking, thinking. It is near impossible to detach with the smartphone always on my hip. And I suspect that this may be related to the whole "you-can-have-it-all" ethos that we were raised under.

    But then I wonder - were our parents, perhaps, as stressed as we are, but just in a different way? And were we just blissfully oblivious, being kids? Is this just part of adulthood?!

  4. Geez, I don't know. I think even if I didn't work I would find ways to make my life too busy! They could put me in solitary confinement and I am sure I would come up with some mental or physical many push-ups in one minute, how fast can I say the alphabet backwards or make up my own language. I think it is hopeless.

  5. Do you always feel this way or is it seasonal? I ask because I usually feel this way at the end of summer, so much to do and the days are getting shorter. (I live in the PNW) Most of the year this feeling isn't so pronounced.
    Priorities help, I have learned a lot of the little things I think I should be doing really are little. So the yard needs mowing, or the laundry is piling up? Does the world end if I don't do it today or even this week?

  6. You only mention your Dad. Did your Dad have a partner who took care of lots of the stressful errands? (Shopping, taking the kids here and there?)

    There's a great essay called "Why I want a Wife" (

  7. There is a lot of societal pressure to excel in all fields, especially in the medical and parenting communities. I only have a toddler, so I'm not at the stage of shuttling her around to various activities yet, but I have learned something about this stage... everybody is so concerned about when their baby will walk, talk, and stack one block on the other. In the end, the majority of kids will have attain these skills eventually, so why do we stress over the timing?

    The same applies for higher education. In college, you're shooting for medical school, after which you're desperately trying to decide which specialty and residency to go into. God forbid you stop and actually think about what you REALLY want or pause to ENJOY the experience!

    As I grow older, I find that it takes a conscious effort to be aware of these things - it only comes naturally to a very small percentage of the population, and these people are not usually drawn to field of medicine. For the rest of us Type A personalities, you have to create the balance in your life. YES - obsess over the details of your vacation while you're planning it, but once there, just sit back and enjoy it. Now, on weekends and vacations, I plan for one main activity a day - everything else is gravy. I also allow myself to go through phases, as I call them. Right now, I am focusing on my health, eating right, working out, practicing relaxation and the Alexander technique. When I feel like I've reached whatever goal I've set here, I can move on to the next "project". I find that doing a little bit of everything every day is just impossibly overwhelming. The problem is that women excel at multi-tasking, so we push ourselves to do it... but it takes a toll. Just because we CAN multi-task doesn't mean we SHOULD.

    Oh, and I never watch the news. I'll read it online and follow the threads that interest me, but watching news on TV is like being forced to eat a bad meal.

  8. That's exactly how I feel! Constantly trying to do everything possible and impossible! I feel always short on time! I think it's driven by constant pressure of being super efficient at the hospital, in the residency....I've noticed that I tend to behave the same way at home too which is horrible! I feel like I am not patient enough at home with my family and kiddo....i'm constantly trying to maximize my time at home too so any delay irritates me while my family is just stopping to enjoy the roses....and I hate the way I feel! I need to find a magic switch once I come home and on my way to work....I do not have blackberry since I refused to be attached to work this way too...I love my work but I love my family too! I am thinking more and more about part time job in the future if it's possible....something like 30-35hrs would so nice!....AnywAy if anybody know how to switch the speed we are operating at - let me know! :-)

  9. While my kids do homework I clean the kitchen and do laundry,yes, multitasking whenever possible. I do not bring work home, if necessary go to work on the weekend to catch up. I do not watch television at all. I read a good book at my bedtime, which helps to unwind. I work 45 hours/week, which I find is a good balance. But I still feel I am too pushy with kids - my youngest complained I should not be scolding him for something he does not understand or is thinking about. Being in a hurry is I guess american way of life.


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